by Epitomie Fitness
When it comes to simple-but-powerful exercise equipment, many people might envision a fully loaded weight rack, high-tech treadmill or stationary bike, maybe even a specialized gym staple like a Smith machine. While all of those have their place, there’s one must-have that can amp up your workout and also fit in your gym bag: a jump rope
Also called speed ropes, these are used by boxers, professional athletes, and CrossFit enthusiasts around the world for a reason. Or actually, for many reasons: A speed rope workout comes with a range of benefits that make this humble piece of equipment into the ultimate workout partner.
1. Warm-up Standout
With jump ropes, you engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, thanks to the plyometric-style act of jumping and landing, which creates a form of resistance training. That fires up your muscles to anticipate those actions, from your feet all the up to your shoulders and neck.
Because speed rope exercises are such a total-body activator, they make a great warm-up strategy, especially for intense workouts like CrossFit, HIIT, tabata, strength training, cardio classes, and cross-training for specific sports. In fact, you can even substitute all or part of a HIIT or tabata session with speed rope workout options.
2. Calorie Burner
Another huge advantage of engaging your whole body and getting your heart rate up: torching calories. How many calories each person burns with activity depends on a number of factors, including age, level of consistent exercise, metabolic health, weight, and body composition.
But, no matter what your rate, experts note that the more intense your activity, the more you’ll burn, and speed rope definitely qualifies as intense. Also, as you build muscle, your burn rate will increase. That means sticking with a jump rope workout plan — and perhaps kicking it up a level with a weighted rope — can build muscle that gets your calorie furnace even hotter.
3. Brain Builder
Your body is going to love jump rope workouts, and surprisingly, so will your brain. Experts from Harvard Medical School suggest that regular, intense exercise can have a profound effect on how your brain holds on to memories and performs important functions.
This occurs for a number of reasons, including reduced inflammation, better insulin control, and more release of chemicals in the brain that keep blood vessels and brain cells healthy. Although any kind of exercise can contribute to these effects, one study found that the aerobic type — like those found with jump rope workouts — can be especially useful, even for those who already have some memory performance issues.
Whether you consider yourself a jump rope beginner or you’ve been a speed rope CrossFit fan or jump rope HIIT workout enthusiast for years, there’s a jump rope workout plan for everyone. This simple, highly efficient exercise must-have makes it easy to progress toward your workout goals — so get jumping and get results.
4. Mobility Booster
With some types of workout exercises, you progress by lifting heavier weights, doing more reps and sets, and/or decreasing the amount of recovery time. These principles are known as load, intensity, and duration. These are excellent options for goals related to strength, power, and endurance. But without proper mobility, getting to those goals will be more challenging and sometimes even impossible.
Mobility is the ability move freely and efficiently, creating better joint flexibility — not just in the gym, but also throughout every day. Getting up from a chair, sprinting up the stairs at work, picking up a laundry basket or your kid: All of these are improved through better mobility. You simply move better, and that translates to less risk of injury and more ease of movement. Jump rope workouts have been shown to improve mobility, as well as strength, speed, and efficient use of oxygen, even in children.
Watch Epitomie Fitness athlete Amanda Russell coach you through the ultimate jump rope workout to take your fitness to another level!
5. Affordable and Portable
With just a minor investment, you can get major results when it comes to speed rope products. Talk about the ultimate travel gym — a jump rope can fit into the pocket of your cargo pants, they’re that compact. If you use one often (which you should, given the advantages!), it’s a good idea to consider a carrying case, too.
Also keep in mind when shopping that not all speed ropes are created equal. Be sure to look for a jump rope that has well-designed handles allowing for faster and smoother rotation. You also want cable, instead of actual rope, since that resists tangling — those knots and tangles can be a major tripping hazard, especially as you get fatigued near the end of a workout. Another big factor is easy adjustability in terms of speed rope length, particularly if you have multiple family members or training partners using the speed rope.
Elizabeth Millard for Epitomie Fitness
Elizabeth is a freelance writer specializing in fitness, and her work has appeared in Runner's World, Men's Health, SELF, Women's Health, and Bicycling, among many others. She's also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher.